Sep 9, 2014

Progress on Division Street

I'm making great progress on Division Street as I prepare this module for the Workshop's upcoming exhibition in Laval.

Rail is mostly spiked now, and while I have not yet started to lay rail on the Judge Farm module, the ties are ready for rail so it should go quickly.


I've written a lot more about these modules on my Port Rowan layout blog. Here's the category link - enjoy if you visit!

- Trevor

May 24, 2014

Division Street and Judge Farm

Further to yesterday's note about the North Shore Train Show in Laval in October, I'll be building my first modules for the S Scale Workshop.

I have four months, and plans for two modules - each made up of several sections. That sounds like a lot to do in just four months, but my module designs are very simple.

The Workshop already has plenty of modules featuring towns, industries, passing sidings and so on. What's really needed is some open country running - to space out the more operationally-interesting areas.

Each module set will feature a single track mainline through a rural area bordered by pasture and meadow. No turnouts - no significant structures - just 20+ feet of additional room for my fellow Workshop members to show off their fine locomotives and rolling stock.

The first module - "Division Street" - will feature a level crossing with (you guessed it) Division Street. It'll look something like this:

(Click on the image for a larger view)

The second module - "Judge Farm" - will feature a cattle underpass between pastures located to either side of the track, as shown here:

(Click on the image for a larger view)

I chose the chevron shape to add visual interest - the curve on each module will be somewhere around 33-foot radius. But it will also make the modules more stable when they're set up. And unlike straight modules, two gentle curves will give the Workshop flexibility when designing layouts to fit a given exhibition space. They can be arranged to form a very long curve... an S curve... or a reverse S curve. They can be used together, or separated with other Workshop modules between them.

I've written more about my module plans on my personal blog - Port Rowan in 1:64. Enjoy if you visit!

- Trevor

May 23, 2014

See you at the North Shore Train Show

The S Scale Workshop has been invited to display at the inaugural staging of The North Shore Train Show - October 4-5, 2014 at the Complexe Multi-Sports in Laval, Québec.

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Apr 29, 2014

Remembering Oliver

Workshop member Jim Martin spoke at the funeral for Oliver Clubine on the weekend. For those who were unable to attend, here's what Jim told a capacity crowd about our friend Oliver...

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"When Sandra asked me to say a few words about Oliver I jumped at the chance, but not without trepidation. To eulogize a friend… well, that’s rather like qualifying for a car race. You get only once chance to nail it.

"Nevertheless, I’m honoured to honour my good friend of 30 years, but please bear with me if a few words become several.

"I’d like to start by offering my condolences to Sandra, David, Laura, Connor, Abby, Betty and Bill and to the rest of Oliver’s family and to his many friends. Family and friends are life’s one true currency. Oliver died a wealthy man.

"My happiest drives in southern Ontario have been the ones from my house to Pleasant Ridge Road, where in Oliver’s company I would drink in the dual elixir of trains and cars. That’s the funny thing. A lot of model railroaders like me are also car guys.

"When I first met Oliver 30 years ago at a model railroad-related social function, my first question was, “Are you the guy who races vintage cars?” It turned out I’d been watching him for years. More about the cars and trains later.

"First let’s go back to April 1937 here in Brantford and the birth of Oliver Bryan Clubine, the youngest son to proud parents Henry and Myrtle. Oliver also had an older brother Donald and a sister June, both of whom have also sadly passed on.


"Oliver attended Cainsville Public School - and later, Brantford Collegiate Institute. The Clubine name was already well known in the community. Oliver’s father had a family lumber business called Henry M. Clubine and Sons. That’s where Oliver went to work after graduating and also presumably when Henry added the letter “S” to his sign. Working in the family firm gave Oliver a head for business and a preference for self-employment.


"In 1962 Oliver made the best decision of his life. He married a young woman by the name of Sandra Telfer in Paris. A candle light Christmas service. She has been with him through the good and bad ever since. I never quite know what women see in our foibles but they enrich our lives and Sandra certainly enriched his. After the wedding they moved into a newly built home on Pleasant Ridge Road. It has remained their address for 51 years.

"In 1965 Oliver started to chart his own path in the business world, purchasing a beekeeping supply business from the family. He constructed a building in a new industrial subdivision in north Brantford and manufactured everything a commercial or hobby beekeeper would need… beeswax products, all wooden equipment and the many other addition items required to keep the bees and their keepers happy. At its peak the company had 13 employees and was the second largest company of its kind in Canada, shipping products from coast to coast. Each April and May he would import live bees from Alabama.

"David was born in August 1973 and very early on started receiving his homegrown business education, working beside Sandra and Oliver in their bee supply company.

"In 1976 Oliver got another bee in his bonnet, sold the business to retire and enjoy his hobbies, auto racing and model railroading. Well, we all know how that turned out! Some retirement!

"In 1977 he bought a small carburettor rebuilding business from Poughkeesie, NY, built a small garage beside the house and enjoyed, or expected to, a bit of country living. He called it Britain West Automotive Specialties. This grew to building race engines and rental of race cars and race car preparation.

"When David joined the business in 1994, the entire family worked tirelessly to build what is now known as Britain West Motorsport. Oliver was also a charter member of VARAC, the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada and a past president of the Grand Valley Car Club. He was also the founder and president of the Mono Posto Register… that’s a fancy European word for single seater…. or Mondo Pasta as I used to call it when I was teasing Oliver about his physique.

"Oliver was head over heels about his racing, except for that one time in Trois Rivieres when he was heels over head. A racer never wants to look up at a hay bale, or down at the sky.

"That’s the car part. Now the trains. Sandra wanted me to tell you what model railroading meant to Oliver.


"Those of you unfamiliar with the hobby might ask what a guy like Oliver, immersed in the exciting life of automobile racing, would find in the arcane task of using miniature tools on miniature lumber, building miniature copies of real trains? Ask other racers…his son David, or Chris Creighton or Sam Posey who even wrote a book about it. Or anyone else whose dual interests include alloy wheels and flanged wheels.


"An escape perhaps? That’s what hobbies are about. A chance to concentrate so fully on something that it wipes your mind clear of the competitive pressures of life, health problems, the day’s disappointments and any number of other afflictions.

"But why model railroading? For many of us it’s a deeply rooted, visceral thing. We look at railroad tracks vanishing into the horizon, the way a poet might regard a tree, or an artist a sunset.

"For the hobby’s neophytes model railroading is just fine as a craft activity, but for the truly accomplished, it becomes an art form - and Oliver was an artist.

"Model railroading is a complex and richly layered hobby. Practised at its highest level it’s a 3D post card of times past… our own personal time machine. Its pursuit can teach a curious mind a huge set of skills - from the basic carpentry and wiring, to model building, airbrush painting, landscape painting, sculpting, computer skills, historical research, drafting, machining, photography, advanced electronics, writing, public speaking, teaching and mentoring, lighting, set dressing, and some others I’ve probably forgotten. The great thing though is you don’t have to learn all those skills… just the ones you want. That’s what makes it so richly personal and rewarding.


"Away from the technicalities of the race shop, Oliver found his pleasure in old school craftsmanship. With little more than an X-acto knife, sandpaper and glue, came award winning models that won him international recognition.

"But here too he couldn’t resist the business side. As a manufacturer Oliver produced craftsman kits under the Ridgehill Scale Models name. First came his quality line of wooden structure kits, followed by his exquisite models of Canadian style boxcars and cabooses, rendered in cast resin and photo etched metal. These are now prized and sought-after items.


"Oliver also owned and operated an exclusively S scale hobby shop out of his home. The uninitiated among you don’t have to know about all the different sizes of model trains… only that S scale is what we call a minority scale: Very few people do it. Because of that, it fosters strong friendships among its adherents. Oliver’s shop was good news for regional hobbyists… a chance to socialize as well as to see the goods close up.


"Twenty years ago Oliver was a founding member of the S Scale Workshop, a group of friends who remain together and who have built a widely exhibited, award winning portable model railroad. He most recently joined us at a local show in Copetown two months ago. It was like old times watching him become reinvigorated as he mingled and chatted among his friends. He even found the energy to join us for supper that evening… a special memory that will remain with us.


"Other memories? Perhaps not so special. Without getting into the “hows and the whys” there was an occurrence some years ago in which a beautifully crafted brass replica of a farm windmill found its way from the top of Oliver’s layout to the bottom of my left shoe… where it was flattened. Oliver was quite gracious at the time but took delight in never letting me forget. That monkey is now off my back, but unfortunately David also was a witness and will no doubt continue the family tradition of busting my hump.


"Oliver packed a lot into his life, his work, and his hobbies. He loved his family… he loved the family time spent in the Muskokas… with Sandra he raised a fine and talented son David who, like his dad, excels behind the wheel of a race car and in the art of model railroading. He has grandchildren Connor an Abby who he doted upon. Connor is showing the same interests and Abby the same tolerance.

"Oliver was a great ambassador for the hobby of model railroading and a dear friend. I’m happy that his mind remained fully engaged in his hobby, even during the days he tired so easily.


"Oliver was a gentleman who would never have insisted that you follow his path… only that you also do something meaningful to leave behind. He will be mightily missed, but the evidence of his talent and creativity remains with us - and that brings us comfort.


"Rest easy our very good and fine friend."


- Jim

Apr 22, 2014

Oliver Clubine

(Sad news for the Workshop today, with the passing of one of its founding members, Oliver Clubine. Fellow Workshop member Jim Martin broke the news to us...)

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It is with heavy hearts that we in the S Scale Workshop, along with the rest of the S scale community, mourn the passing of group member Oliver Clubine. Oliver had just turned 77 this past Easter Sunday.

Oliver had been battling a degenerative heart condition for many years. For the past three weeks he had been in the Brantford, Ontario hospital. He died at 6:00 this morning.

Oliver was a founding member of the S Scale Workshop, and the man behind Ridgehill Hobbies and Ridgehill Scale models.

Aside from his family, his other passion was motor racing. He built Britain West Motorsport into a highly successful  operation catering to open wheel race cars, particularly Formula Ford.

Oliver leaves behind his wife Sandra, his son David (who is also a successful racer and a skilled model railway enthusiast), David’s wife Laura, and their two children Conner and Abby.

A more complete tribute to Oliver will follow in the days ahead. We are missing him already. Our heartfelt  condolences go out to the Clubine family on this sad day.

- Jim

Feb 10, 2014

A great show at Copetown

Many members of the S Scale Workshop turned out on Sunday for the Copetown Train Show, a much-anticipated annual event in this town just west of Hamilton, Ontario.

Several of the Workshop's Free-mo style modules were on hand. Workshop member Jim Martin, who was involved with this year's display, picks up the story...

- Trevor

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It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since our Free-mo layout debuted at Copetown.  For those who couldn’t make Copetown this year (and there weren’t very many) here’s my report.

Saturday was the usual relaxed set up. David, Oliver, Simon, John, Andy and I decided to forgo the Saturday night slide show at the hall and instead had an enjoyable meal down the hill at Winchesters in Dundas.

Yes - Simon! Simon Parent expended the most energy, trailering his fantastic module from Montréal Saturday morning and then driving back home Sunday night after the show wrapped up. John was the next long distance hauler, bringing his Burnt River module from Grafton. Andy brought both his modules and set them up for us to run while he worked the MLW Services table and I brought the train turntables to complete this year’s variation of the Workshop layout.  

David was able to get away from his race car duties to run trains with us, and it was great to see Oliver out both days. Fredrick Adlhock, the N scale modeller who joined us at last December's Royal Botanical Gardens show, rounded out the Sunday crew. He was a bonus for us because it didn’t look like he’d be able to get time from work. We even found a Workshop shirt for him to wear.

David’s son Conner also arrived with the rest of the Clubine family and did his usual fine job on throttle duty. Trevor and Chris showed up to visit Sunday. Talking to Chris seemed like old times, and Trevor shot some layout video, which is presented below. Enjoy if you watch...

Simon has done further scenic work on his module, a small house and lots more trees and grass.  Motive power highlights were Simon’s newly completed Pacific, and David’s GP-9.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello and for the many nice words about our modular layout. And if you missed us, be sure to check our upcoming events page - Visiting the S Scale Workshop - to find out where we'll be next. There's nothing planned as I write this, but as soon as we have our next appearance firmed up, we'll post the details there.

- Jim



(Follow this link to YouTube where you can enjoy this video in larger formats)

Feb 3, 2014

See you at Copetown 2014

Members of the S Scale Workshop will be displaying their modules at the 2014 Copetown Train Show - happening February 9th (this coming Sunday) in the Hamilton, Ontario area.

Visit the Copetown Train Show website for details, including a map and hours.

For many, the easiest way to get to Copetown is to take Highway 403 to the Copetown exit (Regional Road 52), then drive north to Governors Road.

Below is a photo taken at the Copetown show four years ago. A lot has changed since then, and this year the Workshop layout will feature at least one module making its very first Copetown appearance.

Mark Copetown in your calendar - and maybe we'll see you there!